Gantry product design for smart motorways

Ramboll gantry 3D model generated with an innovative design engineering process

Ramboll gantry 3D model generated with an innovative design engineering process


Simon Benfield. Ramboll

Simon Benfield

Director, Bridges UK
T: +44 20 7631 5291

Services we provided

The equipment and signage required on a motorway gantry is unique to the route and running lanes. Every gantry is designed to accommodate a specific set of equipment including ladders, access platforms, signs, lights, cameras, control gear. A single highway project may comprise 100+ gantries and could therefore have 100+ individual gantry designs.

With the inception of Highways England’s Smart Motorway Programme (SMP) the need to provide these structures in even greater numbers and to even tighter programmes required a step change in the product design process.

Ramboll’s gantry generation solution automates gantry design and modelling. It is a constantly evolving system that reduces complexity in gantry model creation whilst addressing current and emerging client requirements. It incorporates analysis software, 3D visualisation tools and 40 years of experience to provide efficient and effective design products for the highways industry. Our approach to structural design now takes hours rather than days, saving many thousands of pounds in design and construction costs every year.

“The significance of the design systems used has been central in the development of the Smart Motorway concept, providing a standard of excellence to the wider motorway environment” - Paul Unwin RPP MAPM FCIHT, Lead Sponsor M4 and M25, Smart Motorways Programme, Major Projects, Highways England

Ramboll designed over 300 gantries in 2016, providing approximately 95% of all highway gantry designs in the UK.

Thanks to our innovation in product design, gantry design costs on a scheme by scheme basis for the SMP are anticipated to fall by almost 60% over the life of the current programme.

We’ve taken the principles, knowledge and lessons learnt on this project to widen the application by adopting it in the design of other civil engineering structure types, including culverts and steel/concrete composite bridges.

Evolution (video 1) describes Ramboll’s approach to the design of gantries for Smart Motorways. It tells the story of Ramboll’s evolution of gantry design from 1970s to today’s automated Gantry Generation System approach using product design principles in a civil engineering environment.

Renovation (video 2) explains how our approach to extending the life of existing gantries projects starting with point cloud surveys of the existing structure, rather than relying on historical data. Using point clouds and modelling the items in 3D helps us fully understand the process for detailing required existing structure thus minimising problems during installation.

Automation (video 3) explains the choices we made to automate the coding of product design principles in a civil engineering environment.


240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291

Company registration

Company registration

Ramboll UK Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Company registration no. 03659970. Registered office: 240 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NW

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